A HOT bidding war saw the late John Roach’s former home in Wilson Street Albury sold for a cool half a million dollars on Saturday.
It was a fitting end of an era for the family of the long-time mayor and alderman who was also a real estate agent.
Albury man Stephen Lovett outbid five others in a fast and furious auction where more than 25 bids were made in minutes in front of a crowd of about 120.
John Roach’s brother Colin was impressed.
“We were blown away by the number of people here and the bidding was to John’s expectations,” Mr Roach said.
He stood in the empty lounge room of the brick house his parents built in 1957 when he was 17.
Many said the Roach parents were forward-thinking when they bought the disused tennis court, divided it into three blocks and built a home with a flexible floor layout easy to renovate today.
It was an emotional day, but they were comforted by who the house was being passed to.
“The vendors appear to be very nice people. They’ve got plans to retire into it,” Colin, who now lives in Port Macquarie, said.
The price rocketed from a starting bid of $380,000 to $485,000, before auctioneer Doug May boomed that the property was on the market.
“$500,000 it will go for,” whispered one onlooker.
“I guessed that figure yesterday.”
And indeed the price rose and the bidders dropped like flies, leaving only three, and then two, before Mr Lovett’s half-a-million bid delivered the final blow.
The crowd buzzed as people craned their necks to get a look at who had won out.
“I thought it was the guy with the dark glasses,” they said, trying to catch a glimpse.
They dispersed quickly and Mr May and his Chapman Gould and May co-director Steve Stewart, both with wide grins, searched for a “sold” sticker to proudly unfurl across the big “for sale” sign on the front fence.
“This is by far and away the most successful residential auction certainly for the past 12 months,” Mr Stewart said.
“It shows in the market there’s still people out there willing to pay for good quality property.”
Among the crowd was Mike Egan, who confessed he was one of the many “sticky-beakers”.
The auction was titillation for the real estate diehards,but there was also a thread of the curious about the man that lived on that 676 square metre piece of prime land.
Mr Egan shared a drink with John Roach every Wednesday before his death.
“It’s a long time since I’ve seen an auction like it,” he said.